Autism in France: Psychoanalysis, Packing, and Other Travesties: Why it Matters
Posted on Tuesday, January 17 @ 14:18:51 EST by
Unlike most modern countries, the Autism Spectrum in France is viewed as a disease that can and should be cured. The dark-ages culture of neglect and abuse remains extremely strong. The documentary The Wall or Psychoanalysis Put to the Test for Autism reveals how outdated theories haunt Autism there.
David Heurtevent is a 32 year-old autistic self-advocate from France. He has travelled extensively and even got a degree from Georgetown. We invited him to share his views on the issue of autism in France and to explain how you too can help.
Why is Freedom of Speech under attack in Autism in France?
Back in September 2011, Sophie Robert, a French filmmaker released her first documentary ?The Wall or psychoanalysis put to the test for autism? in France. She had worked four years on it and met more than 30 psychoanalysts, who are either psychologists or psychiatrists following the psycho-sexual theories of Sigmund Freud, Jacques Lacan and Bruno Bettelheim. You can watch the French film subtitled in English on supportthewall.org for free.
The blog ads2mom wrote: ?[the documentary] details the continued accepted abuse and dehumanization of persons with autism. It further shows that the French psychiatric community still maintains the disavowed theory of maternal cause for autism rather than the acknowledged neurological causes, as well as their insistence that autistics be shut away as useless, ineffectual and unnecessary?.
End of October 2011, three of the psychoanalysts interviewed in the movie sued Sophie Robert and asked the footage to be seized. The French justice accepted and seized it. The justice also denied her right to the secrecy of sources. In November, the same psychoanalysts sued her and the French autism non-profit organizations ?Autistes Sans Fronti?res? for roughly half a million dollar and ask for the movie to be banned. A court hearing was held on December 8th and the Parents with autistic children started a grassroots campaign to support Sophie in France. ?
The campaign has been quite successful with lot of media attention. Parents even rallied on the day of the court hearing in Paris and Lille.
Yet, the movie and the ideas of autism being a neurological condition are under constant attack of the psychoanalysts in the media. Some media and the plaintiffs even described it recently as ?intellectual fraud?.
We don?t know yet how the events will unfold as the judge is expected to release her decision on Jan. 26th2012. So stay tuned.
Why is Autism in dire situation in France? Is there real abuse?
The documentary is the tip of the iceberg. The issue is much deeper. The problem of autism in France is dramatic compared to most developed countries.
For instance, autism is viewed very often there as a ?psychosis?, a mental health issue. Some even regard it as ?child schizophrenia?. As a result, most kids with autism are institutionalized in psychiatric units from a very young age until old age. In many ways, Autism in France still looks at times like the old movies ?Rain Man? or even ?One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest?.
Theories are not just backwards. They can be really harmful. Followers of the psychoanalytic theories of the early 20th century continue to blame mothers for the autism of their child. As a result, social services sometime withdraw the children from their parents based on this crazy theory.
80% of the children with ASD don?t go to school and many kids receive their diagnosis after age six.
Worse, France still allow very harsh techniques, such as ?packing?, a ?barbaric? practice which consists of wrapping children with ASD, naked, or in undies, in cold wet sheets (at 50?F, 10?C), like mummies. I invite you to read more about packing on our website.
Some parents decide to protect their children and bring their children in exile to Belgium so they can receive better care and have access to schools.
What can we do about it?
It is time to say ?enough? to France, which has been already condemned by the Council of Europe in 2004. Even though 2012 has been declared the year of National Attention for Autism by the French Government, no real decision has been made to stop abuse.
On January 24th evening, we plan on releasing a funny video to celebrate the selection of the French movie ?The Artist? for the Oscars.
On January 26th, Sophie Robert and I will give a press conference in English in New York City. Sophie Robert will discuss the court decision. I will launch an international campaign to stop abuse of autistics in France and we hope many of you will sign our petition.
You will be able to watch the conference live for free on USTREAM: http://www.ustream.tv/channel/support-the-wall-press-conference
Alex Plank and many others (Temple Grandin, Donna Williams, Diane Fraser, Travis Thompson, Tony Attwood, etc) are following and supporting our campaign.
We need your help to make it really successful and to change the lives of children and adults on the spectrum in France and elsewhere.
Don?t forget to check regularly our website: http://www.supportthewall.org?And Keep Checking Wrong Planet for more information!
The comments are owned by the poster. We aren’t responsible for their content.
No Comments Allowed for Anonymous, please registerRe: Autism in France: Psychoanalysis, Packing, and Other Travesties: Why it Matters
by ediself Tuesday, January 17 @ 15:10:12 EST
(User Info | Send a Message) Amazing!! I am SO grateful that you published this piece, I have spoken a bit about the situation of France on WP before, and we need the international community to help us out here, nothing can be done from the inside, we definitely need someone from the outside to give the French psychiatrists and psychologists (they’re deeply involved in the “care” of autistic children here) a wake up call , we need something that wouldn’t require their approval, since their egos are huge enough to blind them from the truth apparently. I am not only an autistic adult, but also the mother of an aspie 10 year old who is only allowed part time at school, and only, as stated in his IEP, “as a means to learn socialization”. No mention of academic education. He is allowed to stay at the back of the clas and read all morning long. He’s a smart kid, but I’m afraid the damage will be irreversible, as much as I try completing his education myself by homeschooling him during the afternoons, it won’t be enough……Re: Autism in France: Psychoanalysis, Packing, and Other Travesties: Why it Matters
by Rhiannon0828 Tuesday, January 17 @ 19:48:16 EST
(User Info | Send a Message) I watched the film and the video on “packing” and all I can say is WTF. How can insanity like this exist in the world and not be discredited and condemed by all rational people? I will be happy to contribute in any way I can to put a stop to this idiocy.Re: Autism in France: Psychoanalysis, Packing, and Other Travesties: Why it Matters
by aussiebloke Tuesday, January 17 @ 20:32:29 EST
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What a horrible and unacceptable way France is treating Autistic people. I’ve written about what you’ve put here on my website and asked people to follow the link. More people need to know about this.Re: Autism in France: Psychoanalysis, Packing, and Other Travesties: Why it Matters
by BuyerBeware Tuesday, January 17 @ 23:58:16 EST
(User Info | Send a Message) Sometimes it’s hard to believe that France is part of the Western world. I sadly suspect that Neanderthals managed better. Other than reading a bunch of articles that are going to drive me to smoke a cigarette and/or have a major meltdown, what can I do to help?? As pissed-off as I get about things that go down here in the States, this is just fucking WRONG. Re: Autism in France: Psychoanalysis, Packing, and Other Travesties: Why it Matters
by Scoey Wednesday, January 18 @ 01:30:20 EST
(User Info | Send a Message) Alex, thank you so much for posting David’s message. I am shocked. Of course, with their banning of the wearing of religious iconography in schools and the banning of even moderate head coverings of muslim women in the public at large, our French cousins have lost some ground in the free speech/expression department lately. Yet, has’t The U.S. as well? We are soon facing a vote in Congress that will allow public and PRIVATE commissions to block web sites from America’s home computers if they dare to allow, even by accident, the unlawful use of copyrighted material. Censorship is wrong no matter how you slice it. The only legitimate course of action for a person or entity that has been wronged as a result of free expression is a libel or slander suit. The burden must be to prove a loss of money or reputation due to demonstrably false statements about the plaintiff. The SOPA and IPA are the cyber equivalent of cutting out someone’s tongue for having offended a corporation. This cannot be tolerated and must be fought by any means necessary. But I digress… Since the U.S. Supreme Court has recently issued many decisions that favor big businesses and corporations over the rights of people (and by people I mean PEOPLE, which corporations are NOT), it is conceivable that unless we all speak out and protest what France is doing to ASD people, our government might go the same way. I think it cannot be dismissed that the whole reason behind their treatment of their autistic population is money. They save money in their schools by not providing services that children on the spectrum need to live up their potential, which is no different than the goal of education in general, just differentiated for students on the spectrum. If as David tells us, many children are just cut out of the school system entirely, then this is an outrage that cannot be ignored, in an country, no matter how hot their First Lady is. I plan to watch the movie tomorrow, due some “equal time” research of alternate points of view, and possibly join the petition after careful consideration. If I find what David and this film say check out, I have no doubt I’ll join. I would encourage others that if they decide they will join the petition, they should contact supportive friends and relatives as well, asking them to join, not just for the sake of our French brothers and sisters, but for our own. As MLK said, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice EVERYWHERE.” Believe it.
I have subtitled a packing session http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gmw_z3KPCPwThe French moviemaker Sophie Robert at the court, France, december 8
by mag2 Wednesday, January 18 @ 03:58:37 EST
(User Info | Send a Message) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MUiW-uWm5CoRe: Autism in France: Psychoanalysis, Packing, and Other Travesties: Why it Matters
by Spruce6212007 Wednesday, January 18 @ 06:15:09 EST
(User Info | Send a Message) Thank you Alex for bringing this to our attention. I am beyond shocked that these attitudes are still held as fact in ANY Western country. We need to make our voices heard so that the International community brings so much pressure on the French psychiatric community that they see that the Autism spectrum is a Neurological condition not a psychiatric condition. I will spread the word to all who will read or listen among my friends on facebook and Google+. The French Psychiatric community especially its psychoanalysts are Cruel Barbarians.Re: Autism in France: Psychoanalysis, Packing, and Other Travesties: Why it Matters
by Anlor Wednesday, January 18 @ 12:22:28 EST
(User Info | Send a Message) I am a French 47 year-old woman diagnosed autistic and, believe me, I know all about t abuse surrounding autism in France. 24 years ago I barely escaped the country with my life. Fortunately for me, as a child in France, I was not diagnosed, and so I was educated “normally”, even though I was forced to conform. Si vous etes autiste et francais, mon coeur est avec vous!!! Grace a nos efforts nous pouvons aider plein d’autistes. Je ne sais pas si il est possible de me contacter via WrongPlanet, mais si c’est possible, n’hesitez pas! Re: Autism in France: Psychoanalysis, Packing, and Other Travesties: Why it Matters
by TheWingman Thursday, January 19 @ 15:30:52 EST
(User Info | Send a Message) I’m a french aspie. Trust me, France is a horrible country to live with asperger. The culture is very conflict oriented: as an aspie; you become either very aggressive, or very secluded. What makes it even more difficult to interact with people is that the French, in general tend to use “degrees” in speech. The notion of degree means that what is said has to be interpreted in a certain way either seriously (first degree) half seriously (second degree) not seriously at all (third degree) It is very common that what is said is not what is meant. Furthermore, French people tend to express themselves very badly. This make communication very difficult for everyday aspie life. I moved to the Netherlands 2 years ago, best choice of my life, I don’t come back!Re: Autism in France: Psychoanalysis, Packing, and Other Travesties: Why it Matters
by TheWingman Thursday, January 19 @ 16:12:20 EST
(User Info | Send a Message) Shame on my country, France. This country is ruled by clicks of corporatists whose career thrives on peer acceptance. There is no way for alternative thinking in any field. The French justice is also a shame. These subhuman “doctors” should be locked in their own hospitals for life
by petitesouris Friday, January 20 @ 22:51:06 EST
(User Info | Send a Message) “Followers of the psychoanalytic theories of the early 20th century continue to blame mothers for the autism of their child. As a result, social services sometime withdraw the children from their parents based on this crazy theory.” I am beside myself after reading this. Having read several books condemning the practice of psychiatry, I have always despised this industry, yet I naively thought (or maybe this was just denial?) that a first world country had progressed since the days of lobotomies and excorcism. What do they do with the confiscated children? Isn’t statism great? And what happens to the children who are institutionalized? Shock treatment? Antipsychotic medications which children cannot safely take? Where is the retribution for these crimes against humanity?!? And to think that the government would collaborate with the unjust trials against the filmaker? Where are the guillotines when we need them again? Can the petition be signed at supportthewall.org?Re: These subhuman by liloleme Sunday, January 22 @ 05:00:50 EST
Re: by petitesouris Monday, February 13 @ 22:03:00 ESTRe: Autism in France: Psychoanalysis, Packing, and Other Travesties: Why it Matters
by daniel3103 Saturday, January 21 @ 15:58:00 EST
(User Info | Send a Message) Like a few others here, I am a French Aspie who has chosen to live in another country, and there is now way I am ever going to go back to live in France. It is very hard to be different in France. The expectation to conform is very strong. I wouldn’t be able to meet this expectation, so I would very likely be bullied to the point where I would become homeless. To give you an idea of the kind of things that happened to me, I was harrassed by French employers for cycling to work, and I was harrassed by French government officials for refusing to talk to my family – I was even detained by the police for that, and they wouldn’t release me unless I talked to my mother, which I didn’t want to do – that’s when I was in my twenties. In the UK, where I live now, my quality of life isn’t very good, but at least I have a job, a flat, some comforts, I am not usually picked on for petty issues, and I don’t have to deal with aggressive or corrupt government officials. As much as I find the content of the article apalling, I am not surprised at all by it and I have no hesitation in believing it.Re: Autism in France: Psychoanalysis, Packing, and Other Travesties: Why it Matters
by liloleme Sunday, January 22 @ 04:41:07 EST
(User Info | Send a Message) We moved to France a year and a half ago from California (US). I am thankful that my kids were diagnosed in the US, especially my daughter who has classic Autism and did not speak until age 3. They have very little to no early intervention services depending on where you are. However they have made huge changes in the past two years here in France as far as care for Autism. They still have a long way to go especially with the children who have been abused by the system. My husband has a woman who works with him and she has a severely autistic adult son who was put into a “home” at age 5 and she says he was beginning to speak but after being put into this place he stopped speaking and became far more withdrawn. She took him out but it was very difficult back then for her to care for him or to get help for him. He is now in a group home and she is not happy with his care there either. They basically have no structure and they just let them wander around. She went to pick him up and they put his coat and back pack on and he wanted to go out the door and then had a had a huge meltdown when they wouldnt let him and didnt understand why. She was very upset, they should have known that to him putting on his coat and backpack meant it was time to go and going out and not finding his Mom and not being allowed to go was very upsetting to him as you can imagine. We are fortunate that our children get excellent care. We live in a small town outside Lyon and my 9 year old son who has Aspergers and some LD’s is in a specialized school and he spends half his time there and half at the therapy center (SESSAD). My 6 year old daughter has no LD’s so even though she is more affected by her autism she is in the public school with an aide. We had problems at first this year. She is now in first grade and in the big school, very loud at recess, a lot of kids and many rules (no singing or verbal stimming). I was ready to pull her out but SESSAD stepped in and is training her teacher and her aide how to understand her and how to help her when she gets stressed out. She now has a schedule in place and her aide takes her out of the classroom when she gets overwhelmed. They are slowly getting better but as far as the older or more severely affected kids in some places they are still barbaric. I know that they have stopped the packing or wrapping for the most part, Im sure there are still doctors that do it. There is a lack of education here as far as Autism goes in general but, as I said it is getting better. Id like to see early intervention started but a lot of that has to do with parents as well. Here in France a doctor telling you your child has autism is far worse than in the US. A lot of people do not even pursue the possibility until the child is in school and the school insists. I think that also has a lot to do with all the services my kids get because we are accepting of our children’s autism and we know what they need. I was very impressed, though, with the time they took at SESSAD to understand my kids and to figure out what they needed. There are very few people diagnosed with Asperger’s. My son has one boy in his class who has Asperger’s and the rest of them are more classic autism….they are best friends. This situation suits my son far better than last year when he was in the school where my daughter is now. He was being abused (bullied) and many times when I would pick him up he would burst into tears as if he had been holding it in all day. Im so glad he is happy this year and we have a contract for him to stay there for three years. If things do not change I will more than likely hire a tutor and keep my kids at home when they are older because high school will be far to much on my kids. I was really scared to move here after reading about some of this stuff but I have found, as I said, in our case (maybe it has something to do with where we live) things are better for us here than they would be in the US. My daughter had in home therapy three days a week and a specialized autism school but my son had very little assistance and I put him in charter school where he was home with me. Our insurance partially paid for a social group where as insurance pays for everything here. Also in the US they have amazing early intervention but after a child turns 5 the toss them into the public school system which sucks btw. My daughter would have had no aide because she is now considered more on the moderate to high functioning range. So there is hope and there is change, it is just slow moving. I am basically happy with the help that we get. I have an auto immune disease as well as Asperger’s and I get excellent help. They have even managed to dig up a Psychologist who speaks English for me (my French is bad). It took a long time (they are big on paper work here) but we are getting way more help than we would in the US.Re: Autism in France: Psychoanalysis, Packing, and Other Travesties: Why it Matters
by liloleme Monday, January 23 @ 06:22:12 EST
(User Info | Send a Message) Another problem with France is that these older doctors and their insane ideas are not allowed to be “fired” or forced into retirement. This is why some of these abusive “treatments” are still being used in some places. As far as freedom of speech goes, we have the same issue in the US. As I have posted, children have been and are currently being abused in the US by people who are supposed to be caring for them. There is a very good documentary put out by a French actress about her sister Sabine “My name is Sabine”. This documentary has helped change a lot of things here in France so I hope that this new doc helps as well. The one thing that I have been fighting for is Early Intervention, I think that this is very important and a program needs to be put into effect here. The problem is, is that the mountains of paperwork and stupid government games you have to play it takes forever to even get a diagnosis. Ill say it again, no country is perfect and no matter where you are you need to fight and advocate for your kids….no one is going to do it for you and no place is going to hand services to you. Also there are many places here in France that most people with Autistic children dont know about. We have a sort of network of parents with autistic children through our SESSAD and people we have met that have helped us. Also people….especially parents need to learn more about autism which is hard if they go to the wrong doctor and get the wrong information. As I said, I was fortunate that my children were diagnosed in California and I educated myself. However Im just as thankful to be here now because my kids get far more services than they would if we were still in the US. In the US they have awesome early intervention and then dump them into the public school system where they get very little help….unless you fight really hard (again depends on where you are) while here there is little to NO early intervention but my kids have not only therapy for their autism but a very good education. My dyslexic son is reading very well already and he is happy to go to school. Both of them love to go to therapy and they are both happy. This is just my story and I do want people to know that everywhere (even the US) needs more help and more knowledge about what autism is and how to treat it. Look at the insane parents in the US who kill their children with insane treatments that I would never dream of doing to my child. Re: Autism in France: Psychoanalysis, Packing, and Other Travesties: Why it Matters
by liloleme Monday, January 23 @ 09:04:37 EST
(User Info | Send a Message) Just one more comment and Ill stay away from this but Belgium does have awesome Autism services so if you have become somehow trapped or stuck with one of these insane types of Psychiatrists and you are able to go to Belgium it would be a good move. All I can say to the people in France is learn about the doctor that you take your child to as you do need a diagnosis from a doctor (psychiatrist). Please make sure that whoever you take your child to or whoever you go to is not one of these nut cases. Also as I said about the “old” doctors who can not be fired….the woman with the crocodile was clearly quite old and also disgusting and a pedophile. That make me sick! My husband and I are putting together a film of our daughter to show her progression from being severely affected (severe receptive and expressive speech and mannerisms) to the sweet little chatterbox that she is now. We also want to show the regression that she experienced after first moving to France due to the length of time it took to get her therapy and how she begged to go back to the “english house” because she missed her therapy. It makes me feel so good to see her get so excited about going to therapy now….she cant wait for her taxi (they have special taxi’s for special needs children here) to get there. They all love Maddy and she knows all their names (very important to her). As I said, not only does the medical community here need to learn more about Autism but society in general. Most French people are afraid of something being wrong with their children and they are also afraid to fight against the doctors. I know this because my husband was this way and I had to teach him that if you dont stand up for your kids they will get nothing! Dont be afraid, your children depend on you to not only protect them but to seek out services that they need. It may be hard but try to seek out other parents with autistic children, sometimes they are just as desperate for someone to talk to that understands. I will tell you that most of the people in my little community know that I have Asperger’s and they do stare at me….not only do I walk with a cane and sometimes use a wheel chair but I only speak English and I have that Autism thing LOL. Personally I like it that way. I feel comfortable with certain people but I am comfortable knowing that when I can walk my daughter to school I will not be forced to make small talk. Also I wanted to thank Alex for posting this but I dont like some of the comments. I know we tend to see things in black and white but you cant look at a handful of doctors and say that all doctors are bad. I have been to so many doctors for my auto immune disease and been told everything from, my fusion and degeneration of my spine is due to aging when I was still im my 30’s to my pain was in my head and I was drug seeking. Im thankful to be here. I did have one A HOLE doctor who told me that my fusion must have always been there and he sent me for X rays, made me sit (sitting is VERY painful for me) for nearly an hour (I had to get up a lot) and then just as the X rays came he came out of the room without looking at them and left for vacation (everyone told him to have a good vacation). He was supposed to be the best in my disease. So I went to the Rheumy here in my small town who takes excellent care of me. The doctors in the US really screwed me up by ignoring my disease and allowing it to progress so now I need surgery to fuse the bottom of my spine as it is partially fused and in the US I was put in a study for disk replacement. My ortho surgeon says this doctor should have known better than to put this in my back. It is not only too big but my spine is very fragile so my spine is now bowed in….if you look at my X ray it looks like Im doing the limbo. So I will be going to a special spinal hospital where I will have a team of doctors taking care of me. Try getting this type of care in the US without being very rich! No place is perfect and I fully agree with fighting against what is wrong but as I said, do not blame an entire country for a few morons. There are very good doctors and psychiatrists/psychologists here in France as well. Re: Autism in France: Psychoanalysis, Packing, and Other Travesties: Why it Matters
by deevybee Tuesday, January 24 @ 03:41:11 EST
(User Info | Send a Message) I have posted a transcript of the subtitles of some of the interviews with analysts from the Wall here: http://deevybee.blogspot.com/2012/01/psychoanalytic-treatment-for-autism.htmlRe: Autism in France: Psychoanalysis, Packing, and Other Travesties: Why it Matters
by deevybee Thursday, January 26 @ 04:31:10 EST
(User Info | Send a Message) There’s a BBC World Service podcast on Le Mur, including interview with me, that can be found here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p00mzjy2Re: Autism in France: Psychoanalysis, Packing, and Other Travesties: Why it Matters
by AaronAgassi Friday, January 27 @ 19:01:31 EST
(User Info | Send a Message) ” the French psychiatric community still maintains the disavowed theory of maternal cause for autism rather than the acknowledged neurological causes” Yes. well, so do I! Know more at: http://www.FoolQuest.com/atheism.htm#tool Re: Autism in France: Psychoanalysis, Packing, and Other Travesties: Why it Matters
by Surfman Monday, February 06 @ 03:46:00 EST
(User Info | Send a Message) There was quite a bit of dirty play by the French during the rugby world cup. Re: Autism in France: Psychoanalysis, Packing, and Other Travesties: Why it Matters
by CosTransform Monday, February 06 @ 09:04:32 EST
(User Info | Send a Message) I hope someone gets the video translated and shown in neighboring countries! How does other countries in Europe treat aspies ?
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